Expert Review of Nikon D3000 DSLR VR Kit AF-S18-55mm Black
We are a great fan of Nikon's work here at pricedekho.com, anyone would be, right! Considering the quality of products offered time and again, it really is a force to reckon with, alongside Canon, in every section of the camera industry, be it the Point and Shoot segment or the DSLR segment or the simple superzoom segment. Nikon D3000, is one of the better products from Nikon D3000 and, was company's one of the first entry level DSLRs of the array. Nikon D3000 (AF-S 18-55mm VR Kit) features a modest 10.2MP sensor and a very user-friendly interface which is aimed directly at those who are waiting to upgrade from their Point and Shoot devices or simply towards the enthusiasts. Succeeding the popular Nikon D60, Nikon D3000 sits below Nikon D5000 mainly because of the absence of video mode. Major new additions and upgradations in the device include a big 3-inch rear screen, a good 11-point AF system, and a great new guide mode, which is aimed directly at the beginners. Like the trend that Nikon has very well followed in all its DSLRs, Nikon D3000 (AF-S 18-55mm VR Kit) contains significant number of features that were earlier sported in its predecessor. The sensor of Nikon D3000 is the same that is, the 10.2MP DX-format CCD sensor, which has been found in Nikon D60, Nikon D40x, and Nikon D80 before that (so much for innovation!).
The sensor definitely was one of the best of its time, but it’s time now seems more or less over, and it cannot offer a Live View or a simple movie mode sadly for Nikon D3000. Therefore, the cheapest DSLR body with a CMOS sensor, hence a Live View and a Movie mode remains with Nikon D5000. You cannot complain really in the screen department of Nikon D3000, as although the resolution stays intact at the basic 230,000 pixels and fixed, the size of the screen employs an upgrade from 2.5inches in Nikon D60 to 3inches in Nikon D3000. Optical viewfinder is present thankfully and remains the same size, as in the predecessor at 95% coverage area and 0.8x magnification, but take one glance and you will come across one of the major upgradations as mentioned before, an 11 point AF system. This system shares exactly the same Multi CAM 1000 AF module as featured in high end D90 and Nikon D5000, and remains more sophisticated and detailed than the 3 point system employed on Nikon D60. Since the AF module used is the same as in the higher end devices, Nikon really has no use in using the same focusing scene, which is again a delight for the customers, for Nikon D3000 comes packing with the much in demand LCD grid lines in the viewfinders as Nikons higher-end modes. This is a really legit option to rely on given that there is now the Live View option to count upon.
Design and Build Quality
Exact ergonomics of Nikon D3000 measures 126mm x 97mm x 64mm and hence, makes Nikon D3000 3mm taller than Nikon D60, albeit the width and depth has been kept the same. A significant 10gram of weight has also been shredded from the total weight of its predecessor and thus, Nikon D3000 stands proud at 536grams (Yes, we know, not really featherweight), and better still, when employed with a rechargeable battery and the standard 18-55 VR kit lens, its weight skyrockets to 801grams making it essentially a heavyweight product. The main rival of our device, Canon EOS 1000D is typically the same in dimensions when viewed through naked eyes with exact dimensions standing at 126mm x 98mm x 62mm, while Sony Alpha A230 is a little bigger, not by much though, at 128mm x 97mm x 68mm. Both the rivals become slightly lighter when it comes to body plus battery config of the product at approximately 500grams each. Although the dimensions and construction of the device may feel similar but look and feel of the three rivals is very different. Personally, we thought, Nikon D3000 felt the best among all and, we are not saying this for the sake of the review, but Nikon's trademark hooked inner area in the grip gives a really firm and strong impression implying better handling. That been said, don't really go the other direction but Nikon D3000's grip does not feel at all at par with the high end DSLRs of Nikon, and we say this only because Nikon has raised its standard itself. Still, ergonomically, it is a definite boost over the remaining budget models, and no surprises that Canon EOS 1000D is a very close second. Then, this is just what we feel, a personal choice, you need to see the products and feel them for yourselves to decide what suits you the best.
Focus and Face Detection
Nikon had disappointed us thoroughly with its entry-level products, three generations of its entry-level DSLRs had the meagre 3-point AF system, and finally Nikon has provided a significant upgrade to 11-point system as Nikon D90 and Nikon D5000. This allows Nikon D3000 to outsmart Canon EOS 1000D and Sony Alpha A230 with their 7 and 9 point AF respectively. As mentioned earlier, Nikon D3000 makes use of the same Multi-CAM 1000 module as Nikon D90 working on a cross type sensor, as there are identical options involved. There are three main AF modes in the device that are the AF-S which is a Single Servo AF, AF-C which is a continuous servo AF, and AF-A which is an Auto mode that selects between the other two modes, this decision depends on whether the subject is in motion or not and hence, is a default option. These options are selected from the main information display screen, on which you also need to be offered a Manual focusing option.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Nikon D3000 has a F-mount embedded in it that can work with almost all the Nikkor lenses. Now, the DX-format sensor results in the field of view coming down to 1.5x, and hence, the critical DX 18-55MM VR lens has an effective focal range which is brilliant at wide angle end at 27 mm, but is less than average at the telephoto end at 83mm at 35 mm equivalent. When you consider all Nikon DSLRs, you need the most updates lenses that come in support of full focusing and metering modes.
Screen and Menus
A 3-inch LCD fixed screen that has a standard 230k dot pixels resolution covers up almost the entire rear of Nikon D3000. This is half an inch bigger than what its predecessor had to offer. The biggest difference between Nikon D3000 and its predecessor Nikon D60 obviously comes in the screen, this also makes the feature probably the best in the budget device industry, better than the 2.7-inch screen of Sony A230 or the 2.5-inch screen of Canon EOS 1000D. Certainly, a big screen means more detailed one that adds to the aesthetic value of the product, but in the case of our reviewed device, it also means sacrificing its viewfinder eye sensors that were present in its predecessor. And another one to add, most important in this segment, like the precursor, it certainly cannot access the screen for composition. As mentioned earlier, because of the CCD sensor, there is no Live View in the device and there is no Movie mode either, this may not bother the traditional and professionals but the target audience, the enthusiasts who are used to the Point-and-shoot devices, will certainly be bothered by it. To be fair to the device though, Sony Alpha A230 does not offer the Live View facility either and hence, Canon EOS 1000D is the standout winner in this category.
Nikon is powered by an updated version of the battery that was packed in its predecessor, it is an EN-EL9 battery that is rated at 1080mAh and Nikon claims that it is now good for 550 shots as tested under CIPA, better than the earlier 500 of Nikon D60.
We have talked about it earlier for multiple times, Nikon D3000 essentially shares the same CCD sensor measuring 10.2megapixel as its precursor, and Nikon D40x and Nikon D80 before that. That been said, the sensor measures 23.6 x 15.8mm and comes forth with a 3:2 aspect ratio with maximum size of the image being 3872 x 2592pixels, and also a choice of 2 lower resolution is made available. Hopefully, this will become the last DSLR not to work on the CMOS technology.
· Screen on the rear is large and clear
· 11-point auto-focus is to be fair, very good for any size DSLR
· Fantastic night outdoor portraiture shooting
· Fast write speed, many focus points
· Battery performance astonishing
· Great battery life
· Slow focus speed
· Not designed for larger hands
· No video mode, no live view